Kennen is an amazing AP carry with a variety of ways to play him. He has a passive that stuns enemies when you faceroll them enough, and a great long-range harass spamming skill. His ult is an AoE that can stun within seconds of standing in it, and to top it all off he has great auto attacks. Beware that Kennen is about as squishy as it gets, so play as defensively as possible. Kennen runs on energy, which gives him a huge advantage over enemy casters. Your role is to carry the team, scoring incredible amounts of kills and dominating in team fights.
The reason I created this build is because I couldn't get what I wanted in either AP or AD/AS Kennen. I preferred AP, but I detested that I could really only faceroll with him. I loved playing AD, but my skills felt so useless it's ridiculous. So I settled on a hybrid that focuses mainly on AP, but grabs enough AS to keep you rockin' like the hurricane that you are in between skill cooldowns.
When I say "throw the shuriken" or have any reference to shuriken, I'm most likely referring to Thundering Shuriken. If I'm referring to Kennen's auto attack, which does throw normal shurikens, I will say "auto attack".
Mark of the Storm: Mark of the Storm is Kennen's ace in the hole. As long as you faceroll the champions hard enough (QWEQWEQWE) you'll consistently score stuns. This also works for harassing and denying XP, because an enemy who knows what the mark of the storm is won't be willing to come near you if you stacked 2 marks of the storm already. This makes Kennen great because he can hit targets and consistently score stuns. In addition to the stun, stacking 3 marks of the storm on a single target returns 25 energy, which can save you in a pinch.
Thundering Shuriken:This is Kennen's spammable skill. With a low cooldown (and even lower using masteries, runes, and items) you can consistently throw shurikens at the enemy, stacking marks of the storm all the while. This has a full 1050 range, which is incredible, but it comes at a cost. The shuriken is a skill shot, which means that you have a chance of missing and enemies can easily hide behind minions and stay safe. The advantage of a skill shot is that you can face check a bush without having to get within striking distance of a bloodthirsty Garen. In summary, just throw your Shuriken in the direction of your enemy if you don't want them to get close.
Electrical Surge:This is a great multi-target skill with a passive that goes great with Attack Speed. The active does damage and adds a mark of the storm to any enemies currently possessing a mark of the storm, and the passive adds a mark of the storm to the enemy every 5th auto attack. The passive works great for harassing in combination with thundering shruiken: attack a minion 4 times, and when an enemy champion gets near, just throw a thundering shruiken then auto attack once. If you just wanted a harass, then watch and laugh as the enemy turret hugs for the duration of your 2 marks of the storm, and farm freely. If you were going for some heavy damage, pop electrical surge as well to stun them, then open up with the full force of your arsenal. The greatest thing about the active is that there is no limit to the amount of enemies you can hit. Farming minions is as easy as using Lightning Rush through a wave of 9 or more minions attacking your turret and then using electrical surge to hit them all. This comes in handy during team fights, where you can plaster another mark of the storm on any enemy unfortunate enough to already have been targeted by you.
Lighning Rush: This skill is a good chasing/running tool, and with ghost you'll be uncatchable. Running through an enemy does damage, stacks a mark of the storm, and refunds 40 energy. The energy refund is actually a bad thing, as it punishes you if you fail to catch your target (as opposed to a flat cost of 60 energy). The best thing to do when chasing or running is to try to take a path that would hit a minion with your lightning rush so that the energy does not go to waste. A great combo for this skill in a team fight is to dart around the enemies, stacking as many marks of the storm as possible. This won't stun many people because it only stacks 2 marks of the storm, but it makes easy work of a team in conjunction with your ultimate.
Slicing Maelstrom: Kennen's ultimate, slicing maelstrom, is an AoE beast. Attacking about 3 times per second, it does damage and puts a mark of the storm on a random target nearby, but only on the first hit. Basically, if a bunch of enemies get within ult range, pop it. Then chase them (rather ineffectively i might add, because despite the tooltip not mentioning it, Kennen's ult slows him down while he uses it).
Skill Level Order
Level thundering shuriken as fast as possible. This is your harass skill, and you will spam and harass like you have no mana to waste... Oh wait! You have energy! Fantastic! Throw your shuriken whenever you can. If there are no champions to hit, use it to last hit a minion or two. There's virtually no cost, so fire away. I like to level electrical surge and lightning rush equally, because they're usually used in tandem. Slicing Maelstrom, like any ultimate, is leveled whenever possible.
Battle Skill Usage Order
There are a variety of instance in which Kennen will have to fight. Because of his unique set of skills, he must treat every encounter differently.
Harassing is what Kennen is great at. The simple combo for Kennen to harass is Q>Q>Q>Q. Run up to get in range, throw your shuriken, and start moving out of range of the enemy right after you cast the spell. Don't wait to see if it hit, you can do that from a safe place. Move quickly, and move silently.
If you'd like to mix it up a bit and actually do some damage with your harass, you can Q>W. Basically, throw your shuriken and then stick around to blast them with electrical surge too. This is pretty heavy on energy usage though, so don't expect to go rampant right after using this combo.
If you ever have to go 1v1 against another champion, facerolling is not an option. The best thing to do is get off a stun as efficiently as possible, and the combo to do this is Q>E>Q>W. That may sound odd, but here's how it works. The general rule of thumb is to always harass. If an enemy hasn't engaged, you harass. If the enemy engages, you throw yourself at them with lightning rush, go through them and get behind them, then shuriken and surge. That makes for a total of 3 stacks, and they're stunned. After that, auto attack for all it's worth. If your shuriken is on cooldown from harassing, either rely on the auto attack mark of the storm passive to proc, wait a bit for the cooldown to come off (face it, the cooldown is pretty short) , or do nothing because you already had a mark of the storm on the enemy from harassing.
Don't rely on auto-attacks until you get the malady. Your attack speed will be god awful until then, and the malady unique effect really helps for champions stacking magic resist (because I really skimped on magic penetration in this build, sorry to say). You might even want to hold off from really trying to do harm with auto attacks until you have your recurve bow. Once you get the sheen, but more importantly the lich bane, try to auto attack after using any skill, but mainly thundering shuriken. Thundering shuriken will mainly be used for harass so it'll be easy work getting an auto attack in after every shuriken, but the other skills are mostly used together. Don't forget to auto attack after every skill use if you can, but don't feel obligated to stop combo'ing like a mad man just because you want to fully utilize the lich bane.
The best thing to do with Kennen is to harass until he gets focused. The skill order would go Q>Q>Q>Q then Q>E>R>W. Use your ultimate right after lightning rushing as many people as possible, but don't use it during your lightning rush. Your ultimate slows you down significantly and you want to hit as many enemies as possible with your lightning rush. Use electrical surge as soon as possible after your ultimate. The reason you pop your ultimate first is to 1. assure that you have enough energy to do so and 2. to make sure you aren't dead before you can do so. You'll get focused (and die) pretty fast if you don't kill them first. Auto attack as much as possible. After all, you are hybrid kennen.
The runes are pretty self-explanatory, but I'll make a few comments.
Greater Mark of Insight: These runes are standard for any AP carry, as they make up for the entire lack of MPen in my build, save for malady. These are a great choice to make kennen's skills hit harder.
greater seal of vigor I'm a huge fan of health regen runes, regardless of the champ. Regen runes give such an early game advantage that you should be able to lane continuously without having to recall on account of low health, and kennen is energy-dependent so recalling for mana is out of the question as well.
This build is centered around cooldown reduction, so it makes sense to grab cooldown runes. These are useful for any champ as well, so if you buy these runes they won't go to waste. Cooldown reduction on kennen is a must, as he can spam just about as fast as his skills come off cooldown.
This build is primarily focused around AP and the quints are no exception. Flat quints give a huge early game boost that makes kennen a dominator of early game laning. This will give you punch with the shuriken right off the bat, and will let you deny XP like a charm.
Core Item Build
The majority of these items are AP. Malady, nashor's tooth, and hextech gunblade are hybrid items and lich bane affects auto attacks using AP. This build has 364 AP in the end regardless, so you'll be hitting hard with your skills. However, those items aren't just bought in that exact order, instead they are broken into parts.
Doran's Shield is the starting item. Kennen rocks the early game and scales well into mid and late game. Kennen needs a good amount of defense to survive since he's about as squishy as a 4-foot tall child weighing 400 pounds. Doran's shield gives kennen a bunch of regen to stack with his runes and armor to keep him healthy.
Malady gives kennen a lot of attack speed early on so he can work his auto attacks into the fight. The unique effect also tears away magic resist so that the entire lack of MPen, save for runes, is balanced out. The AP that this item gives also helps to make you hit like a truck.
Boots of Swiftness: kennen has 2 skills () that require him to be in the heat of the battle. Being able to get in and out is invaluable to kennen. He is very speedy, especially when combined with ghost and lightning rush, and these boots utilize that to its full potential.
Sheen is the start of lich bane. It shouldn't make you do anything extra special but it gives your auto attacks a bit of oomph that they lack with the abysmal amount of AD in this build.
Hextech Revolver gives a good amount of AP to get us on our way to smashing enemies with a lightning bolt of awesome. The spell vamp is helpful to keep your health up and negate a bit of the squishiness that comes along with being a pygmy ninja.
Stinger nearly completes the attack speed portion of this build. The cooldown is fantastic for kennen so you can spam your shuriken as fast as your little ninja hands can throw.
Lich Bane will give some punch to your auto attacks. Throw a shuriken with a completed build (assuming the enemy has 0 MR) will do about 435 damage. If you auto attack directly after that, you do another 300 damage. That's 735 damage. Naturally, we must assume that the enemy has magic resist, so that number is only wishful thinking. However, the lich bane is really what compensates for an entire lack of AD in this build.
nashors tooth is a great hybrid build, giving great amounts of AP, AS, and cooldown for cheap. A good all-around item.
Abyssal Scepter is great because it gives a good amount of AP and magic resist to make you tougher, while having a magic resist-reducing aura. This makes kennen even more helpful in team fights, as your team mates will do more damage as well. This item gives a good balance of defense and offense, while helping out your team.
Hextech Gunblade is a great hybrid item, giving the much-needed attack damage, ability power, life steal and spell vamp. The active is great for chasing, running, or simply doing damage. It's very expensive however, so the AD portion of this item is withheld until last.
The farthest you'll probably get in this build in an average game is lich bane or nashor's tooth. I very rarely get to abyssal scepter, let alone hextech gunblade. Just be prepared to go without your hextech gunblade active.
I always run a 9/21/0 mastery tree for kennen. Defense gives a lot of bulk to kennen so he doesn't get massacred when he has to dive right at the enemy for two of his skills. I take the standard defense masteries, being sure to grab AR, MR, dodge, and ardor, the AS/AP mastery. I put the rest into offense because this is a carry build and I want to do damage. I make sure to grab sorcery to get some extra cooldown, and archaic knowledge so we can compensate for the minimal amount of magic penetration.
Summoner Spell Explanation
Ideal Summoner Spells
This skill is a great escaping and chasing skill. The great part is that you can activate this and lightning rush to go mega fast and outrun anyone. Even if flash wasn't about to be removed, this skill is better because it puts some distance between you and the enemy, compared to flash that would only be a significant escape if you were near a tower. Though flash might be better for some champions, kennen can combo ghost + lightning rush to get out of CC range so quickly that flash would be insignificant.
Ignite is great for getting champions who narrowly avoid your final awesome. Pop ignite on a champion when you think they're going to run and presto, they'll be dead before you can say "I'm B". However, some people seem to think that the only thing that ignite is good for is to hit running champions. I disagree.
One of the great things about ignite is that it reduces healing effects. Laning against vlad? Hit him with ignite and his Transfusion will heal himself significantly less. Have a pesky super-carry miss fortune who keeps getting heals from sona, janna, and taric? Use ignite and attack with all your might. Be aware of any champions that have healing powers, and shut them down with ignite.
It might be a good idea to save ignite for last hits on champions early game, but during team fights (where you don't have to shut down healing) a great thing to do is to harass with ignite. What you can do against a group of enemy champions that hasn't initiated is to use thundering shuriken, ignite, and electrical surge. That will deal significant damage to a single target, and if you chose carefully you may force the enemy to recall. This will put the enemy at a severe disadvantage, either lacking a player or having a weakened player. The best time to use this strategy is when team fights become one-sided massacres where the odds are that if you ignite a champion, it won't die by your hands but instead by the sniping ezreal who uses Trueshot Barrage to killsteal like nobody's business.
Other Summoner Spells
Clairvoyance is a great skill, used to have great map awareness. However, there are better summoner spells and you should leave this one to the support champions. I would only recommend this spell if you detest buying wards.
Kennen uses energy. This skill replenishes mana. Therefore this skill is useless on kennen.
Cleanse is great on kennen if you always get locked down by CC, but I find myself doing fine without it. As long as you're careful and you're aware of the CC that the enemies have, you should be fine. Be careful and this skill will be unnecessary. There are some instances where being careful doesn't quite cut it, like when Shen or Rammus taunt you and pull you within range of a turret. If you detest those scenarios, then by all means take cleanse as your summoner spell.
This summoner spell is mostly to shut down AD carries, and since you have a stun it isn't as effective as other spells.
This is a good escape skill, but since it's being removed and ghost works well with lightning rush, this isn't the greatest choice for escape.
You could grab this if you really want to keep your turrets up, but you hardly benefit from the passive and your role doesn't synergize well with this skill.
I've never been a fan of this skill, and especially since kennen's a squishy the heal will only be beneficial in really close fights. Usually by late game you'll either do damage and keep generally high health, or you'll die. The in-between that would mean the difference between life and death doesn't occur on kennen as often as it does on other champions.
This is mostly for melee champions or support champions. Kennen does use his auto attack in this build, but the benefit is marginal and the main focus is AP.
This is if you die a lot. The cooldown is incredibly high, and you shouldn't be taking this. You should get a summoner spell that saves you from death, not one that brings you back fast.
This is for junglers. Kennen doesn't jungle.
This spell is a great substitute if you don't prefer ignite (I wouldn't recommend getting rid of ghost, the escape is pretty vital) and it gives you fantastic map control so you can minimize tower losses and change a 1v1 into a 2v1 in short time.
Off the platform, the best thing to do is buy doran's shield and run to your turret quickly. If you're solo mid or top, then don't risk the early-game gank, you're too squishy. Instead you should throw your shuriken into the bush by your tower to check for enemies trying to gank you. If you see your shuriken suddenly stop and a secondary "zap" noise occurs, you just hit a champion. Back off and make sure that you don't get roflstomped by a garen's Judgment or other similar spells. If you're duo laning with someone and you guys want to sit in the bushes outside the enemy tower waiting for them, then by all means go ahead. Be careful though, and make sure to keep your distance.
While laning, the most important thing is to HARASS! You're kennen, throw your shuriken over and over and over and over. If they take a single step out from behind their creep wave then punish them for it. If they avoid focusing you, try to get a few auto attack hits on them. Anything you can do to chip away at their health while sustaining no damage yourself.
One important thing to learn to do is last hit. Frequently I see people farm like their life depends on it so that they can auto attack the turret at level one. This is a bad move, and there is more than one reason why. First of all, you'll be susceptible to enemy ganks. If you're so far away from your own turret that 3 flashes won't save you, then an enemy jungler with a stun or slow and whatever champion you're laning against will tear you apart, no exceptions. Another reason is to deny XP. If you're harassing the enemy to the point where you can push them into range of their tower, then you probably are doing well. However, they don't even need to attack your creeps to gain XP. The turret will dominate your creep wave and they'll receive all the XP. If you last hit and make sure your creep wave doesn't move past mid in combination with harassing, then they will have to remain out of XP range and will be far behind in levels by the time the laning phase is over. The best way to keep your creeps in check is to run back and forth while keeping an eye on enemy minion health. Once you see a creep with low health, auto attack once or twice to get the last hit. This gives you the gold and keeps your creep wave relatively equal in lane positioning to theirs. In between last hitting, harass the champ to try to get them out of XP range.
By mid game you should be transitioning out of the laning phase, performing ganks and small team fights. The best thing to do here is score kills; after all, you're an AP carry. There are a few tactics you should know during the mid game to gain an advantage
If you have a jungler, chances are they'll go for the dragon in the mid game, as early as level 6 but more commonly level 8 or 10. If you're bottom lane, it's your job to make sure that the dragon is kept in control by your team. When the jungler goes to grab dragon, push the lane so that if you have to dip out to help the jungler with an enemy jungler or a gank that it's not a problem to do so. If there's not a jungler on either team, make it your job as the bottom laner to grab dragon. Push the lane to the enemy turret, then retreat into the fog of war before heading in the direction of dragon. Grab it quickly and get back to your lane fast. If the enemy looks like they're going to push to do some turret damage, then maybe wait in the brush to get a nice gank on the enemy in the range of your turret.
I cannot tell you how important wards are. Buy a bunch, and put them wherever you think an enemy will go to gank. Put one on dragon if you're bottom lane so you can see the enemy jungler trying to take dragon. If there is no enemy jungler, then ward it anyways to watch for ganks. Definitely ward the dragon around level 6 or 7 to watch for the jungler. Be aware that the dragon is on a 6 minute timer, so place a ward about 3 or 4 minutes after you or the enemy kills the dragon.
If you're top or mid lane, ward the middle ground brush areas. This is most likely where someone will hide to gank you, and you must watch for ganks if you're solo. Ward baron around level 16, or even sooner if they have a good jungler like shaco or warwick. The key is to ward so you don't get caught with your pants down. Place a vision ward where you think the enemy has wards so you can destroy them, or grab an oracle's for the same effect.
This is an important tactic on Kennen, and is done rather uniquely. Kiting is the act of attacking while running. Kennen is pretty fast with boots of swiftness, but many champs have CC that may just ruin your day if you're trying to make a quick escape. If you have ghost and lightning rush, the best thing to do is activate both at the same time and move quickly. However, if both are on cooldown or you don't think you can make it away with lightning rush alone, then Q>W>E, but it's a bit more complicated than that. Throw shurikens while running, and when you hit the enemy once, wait until they're in range of electrical surge. Don't back up to hit them, it'll put them on guard for the next part and chances are you want to get away, so if they never get in range then you succeeded. If they do get in range, hit W and then lightning rush immediately. Move backwards and stun with your lightning rush, but if you're expecting a skill shot you might want to juke and move a bit to their left or right and then move towards them. Once they're stunned, you can DPS with whatever skill is no longer on cooldown (including ultimate, if you really want the kill. Don't be shy, the cooldown isn't very high at all) and auto attacks to kill or get the enemy to run like the little child they are. Alternatively, you can run as fast as your tiny ninja feet will carry you. Because you were running in the first place.
Don't do this if you are incredibly low on health. Instead, just throw shurikens as much as you can without dipping below 100 energy, and then lightning rush your way out of there when it comes off cooldown. Don't risk your life for a kill.
At this point you will be a true carry. Chances are that most of your fights will be team battles. Luckily, kennen is a great team battler. When you start off, you'll probably be in the pre-initiate phase. The enemy team is farming minions to get them out of the way and so are you. At this point, throw as many shurikens in their direction as possible, poking and harassing like crazy. Once they initiate, try your best to stay back, throwing shurikens and auto-attacking when you can without being focused. If you either get focused or your team really has the enemy team under wraps, use E>W>R. Lightning rush, hitting at least 3 or 4 enemy champions, then electrical surge. Use slicing maelstrom to get the stun off on the enemies, then auto-attack and use your shuriken. If they have the advantage, run away from them. It doesn't matter if you get less hits using your ultimate, it's better to survive. Stay in the enemy area for as little as possible while using lightning rush and slicing maelstrom. Attack from afar when you have to.
Kennen is a great character, but as indicated by his high IP cost, he's a pretty complex character to play. I hope that you managed to master this incredibly fun character using my guide, and feel free to comment if you believe I am mistaken in any of my information. Good luck and have fun with kennen, and be sure to rock like a hurricane!
One Final Note
One of the great things about kennen is that he can harass. However, it's difficult to do this when you play on a locked screen view. This means that your character is always centered in your screen, instead of being able to control exactly where your screen is. Playing with an unlocked screen mode is essential for kennen because his shuriken's range is often out of view on locked mode. The Y key toggles screen lock, and spacebar temporarily centers your screen on your champion. Get some practice with unlocked and you'll be able to land much more shurikens on the enemy.